Innovation to take center stage at Chicago’s Field Museum
BY SANDRA GUY Business Reporter April 10, 2012 1:26PM
A poster announces the EG Conference, a three-day event called the most inspired gathering of innovators, artists, musicians and other big-idea creators, which is being simulcast at the Field Museum April 12-14 so Chicagoans can take advantage of hearing the speakers.
Updated: May 12, 2012 8:13AM
The Entertainment Gathering — a meet-up of innovators in art, music, media, science, technology, education and entertainment — will host its first high-def simulcast at the Field Museum with dozens of local presentations and discussions.
“EG is focused on the inspirational spark that gets creative people up in the morning and marks a return to a more direct and intimate connection between thinkers and doers,” said EG Director Michael Hawley, a pioneer of digital systems at “Star Wars” filmmaker Lucasfilm Ltd. He also is a former technology innovator at the MIT’s Media Lab and winner of the 2002 Van Cliburn international piano competition. His 6-foot-tall photography book on the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan — the largest book ever published — is on exhibit at the Field Museum.
The gathering in Monterey, Calif., will be simulcast at the Field Museum’s James Simpson Theatre from 3:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday; 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday. The conference is called EG6 to recognize the sixth yearly event.
Tickets are free to Field Museum members. For non-members, tickets cost $29 for adults, $20 for children ages 3-11 and $24 for seniors and students who show ID. Tickets allow access to the entire museum, including the EG conference and refreshments.
Hawley aims for EG6 attendees to be inspired, entertained, enlightened and transformed by hearing from people who’ve made startling differences in the world, whether it’s opera singer Charity Sunshine Tillemann-Dick returning to the stage after a double lung transplant or Roz Savage, an author, environmentalist and the first woman to row solo across the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans.
“The conference has geniuses from every field, and it’s jaw-dropping to see the incredibly beautiful things that people do,” Hawley said. “In this day and age, it’s refreshing.”
The event in California will feature a sit-down discussion with former U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords and her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly, as well as appearances by “Mythbusters” TV star Adam Savage and speculative fiction writer Neal Stephenson.
Those attending the Field Museum simulcast will get to hear from a total of 56 presenters and talk with innovators during simulcast breaks, including restaurateur-turned-marathoner-turned-mountain climber Gabe Viti; businessman Nate Shapiro, founder of SF Investments Inc. and a board member of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews; and author Kevin Coval, artistic director of Young Chicago Authors and co-founder of “Louder than a Bomb: The Chicago Teen Poetry Festival.” The Bucket Boys, a duo who bang on pots, pans and trash cans to create hip-hop and funky dance beats, will perform.
Other local presenters include Howard Tullman, serial entrepreneur and president and CEO of Tribeca Flashpoint Media Arts Academy in the Loop; Field Museum conservator JP Brown, who runs a “Serious Legos” site for Legos designers who incorporate robotics into their creations, and Steve Schapiro, a documentary photographer who has published books about the 1960s civil rights era and iconic figures such as Muhammad Ali, Andy Warhol, Martin Luther King Jr., and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.
Viti recalled working 18-hour days as a chef at his Highwood restaurant, Gabriel’s, and taking off only four Saturday nights in 11 years. He changed his life after reading the book, “Into Thin Air,” about the death of eight climbers on Mount Everest and has since raised money for charitable causes while doing Ironman competitions and climbing Mount Everest and the Seven Summits — the highest peaks on each continent.
“I didn’t realize I’d be so taken by the climbing and the mountains,” said Viti, who is celebrating his 49th birthday this summer by climbing Mt. Kilamanjaro.
For his 51st birthday in 2014, Viti is training to swim the English Channel.
The Chicago Sun-Times is the local event’s media sponsor.
For more details, go to eg.fieldmuseum.org.